It's coming down to the end of my stay in Granada. Today was the last morning of teaching at the hotel, and this afternoon I'll be on a ferry to an island of big volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua. Even though the days were slow and hazy, the whole of this month has really flown by. I packed my (somehow heavier) backpacks, and I'll be heading out with a grateful heart.
I never want this page to be somewhere where I only tell you the rosy side of things and leave out the parts that don't fit with that view, so I want you to know that I'm leaving Granada with some mixed reviews, and I feel ready to move on to other parts of the country. I loved being here to work; my first time teaching yoga internationally truly blew me away. The guests were kind, interesting, and into the classes. Eloisa and Danilo were so helpful and accommodating; they made it easy to feel at home around the house and the hotel, right from the beginning. And the hotel-- wow! I can definitely recommend somewhere to stay if you're ever looking to treat yourself well in Central America.
Granada and its surroundings are gorgeous and very easy to get around. I was surprised at the amount of activities there were to do, because, before I got here, I had worried about spending a whole month in a small city where almost everything is in walking distance. Eloisa knew that we traveling yogis are the roaming type, so she usually recommends that teachers only sign on for a month at a time. That made me a little nervous, but I definitely felt that there were enough new things to maintain my adventurous spirit during the time I was here.
The only complaint that I kept coming back to day after day, or really every time that I left the house, was that the catcalling got old pretty fast, and it was hard not to let it spoil things for me. Granada is a safe city, and I'm sure there are plenty of women who will say they felt perfectly fine traveling alone here or that it's all just another part of the culture, but I quickly grew tired of getting whistled, hissed, or blown kisses at whenever I stepped out the door, and that men ages 13-80 would make comments whenever I passed by them. One girl told me she tried to take them as compliments or was able to ignore them. Unfortunately, it made me uncomfortable being on my own, and it kept me from taking day trips to nearby markets or, I felt, from fully experiencing the local culture. After about two weeks, I started spending longer hours in cafes, the touristy ones, with the wifi and organic fruit bowls, where I wouldn't stand out so much. I got a lot of reading done and the smoothies were always delicious, but I normally love walking around as a way to get to know a city, and my discomfort kept me pretty sedentary here.
On the other hand, I wouldn't want that impression to discourage anyone from visiting Granada. The discomfort didn't really start to put me in a sour mood until the second half of my visit, and I don't think a short-term visitor would be as bothered by it since they wouldn't have to hear aggressive remarks at 7am on their walk to work or on a sweaty haul back from the grocery store. I still think Granada is a marvelous place that is not to be missed, and I hope more Americans come down to see it soon because the Canadians have been arriving in droves. I am so thankful for the job here and the graciousness of the people I met, and I'll bet plenty of foreigners visiting the US have felt uncomfortable for some reason or another. And I can tell you where to get any type of refreshing mixed fruit concoction as soon as you step out of the cab here. So, ya know, mixed feelings!